- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The family of former Subway pitchman and convicted sex offender Jared Fogle accused the sandwich chain this week of ignoring complaints about his “predatory compulsions” prior to his 2015 arrest.

Subway was notified no fewer than three times about Fogle’s sexual interest in children, but neither disciplined the pitchman nor notified law enforcement, according to a lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of his former wife, Katie McLaughlin, and their two kids.

Instead, the lawsuit alleges Subway promoted Fogle as a “family man” and gave him increased access to vulnerable children.

“The safety of kids was not a priority but Subway’s bottom line was,” Ms. McLaughlin’s attorneys wrote in their lawsuit filed Monday in Hamilton County Superior Court in Indiana. “To drive sales, Subway ignored its corporate responsibility and provided a platform for him to prey on children by sending him to elementary schools all over the country.”

Fogle, 39, was arrested at his Indianapolis home in April 2015 on child porn charges and later pleaded guilty to 15 counts including engaging in commercial sex acts with minors. He was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison last November, and his divorce from Ms. McLaughlin was finalized two days later.

According to the lawsuit, Subway knew of Fogle’s fondness for children dating back to at least 2004 when the company’s senior vice president of marketing at the time received a complaint.

Subway received at least three reports “regarding Jared’s sexual interest in and activity with children” and responded on two occasions by having a public relations employee ask Fogle about the allegations. Other than those two instances, however, the lawsuit alleges “Subway did nothing more” and either failed to have proper protocols in place or failed to follow any of them.

“Despite knowing of Jared’s sexual interest in children and the then-alleged sexual acts he committed with them, Subway continued to promote their start spokesman,” the lawsuit reads. “In particular, Subway launched multiple campaigns that required Jared to visit elementary schools around the country,” beginning the same year the first sexual allegation concerning Fogle was raised with executives.

“Finding out that your husband and the father of your children is a child predator, and knowing that his job involved him visiting schools on a regular basis is devastating,” Ms. McLaughlin said in a statement Monday.

When Fogle’s school tour was finished, according to the lawsuit, Subway re-branded him as “family man” in commercials where his wife and kids were depicted in cartoon form without their consent. Those ads ran more than 2,000 times from March 2015 until four months later when the FBI raided Fogle’s home and in connection with a child porn probe, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit charges Subway with negligence, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and right of publicity, all with respect to either the company’s mishandling of Fogle or its unauthorized use of the McLaughlin family’s likeness.

“I filed this lawsuit because I have questions” McLaughlin said at press conference Tuesday. “Questions that someday my children will ask me and that I imagine the families of the 14 victims are asking. Questions to which I have no other way to get answers. Questions like what did Subway know and when did they know it? What investigations, if any, did they conduct? Did they ever notify the authorities?”

The McLaughlins seek a jury trial and unspecified damages. A spokeswoman for Subway told The Associated Press on Monday that the company did not have an immediate response.

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